Maintainer: Oltalom Charity Society
Name of Institution: Temporary Hostel for Men with Special Need
Chief physician: Dr. József Olasz
Head of department: Zoltán Albert
Address: 1086 Budapest, Dankó u. 9.
Phone: (06-1) 210-5400/ 142
In our experience, most of our clients are psychologically impaired. They have attempted to escape hopelessness through alcohol and drugs – which lead to psychological and mental damage. The drastic reduction of beds in hospital psychiatric wards and the lack of aftercare predispose patients toward homelessness. According to our observations most of the homeless are alcohol-dependent and at least 30% show physical (most commonly alcohol-induced liver or nerve diseases) and mental illnesses (e.g. borderline personality, delirium tremens, pre-delirium tremens, cerebral or cerebellar atrophy).
These people represent the most defenseless circle of the “homeless population” regardless of the origin of their mental condition.
Early in our organization of health care for homeless persons we ascertained the need for greater attention to the needs of these people. Because of their special needs, they require greater protection and care whether or not their rehabilitation is possible.
We have significant experience in caring for the homeless since the “beginning” of homeless care. Today, we have hospital and outpatient centers with experienced staff.
We have also studied effective foreign programs of homeless care and have developed creditable innovative methods. However, insufficient state financing and lack of money is a serious obstacle in realizing them. In 2003, we were able to take special care of 21 such persons. We then formed a new department with the help of donations contributed for that purpose.
(Chief physician István Samu established the first such institution in the 16th district of the capital in the ’80s.).
The medical support for clients in the institute comes from the hospital-outpatient center in Dankó street 9. Therapeutic activities have been held in the hospital for many years and with good results. These 21 patients now receive the same therapeutic care.
In Györköny (Tolna County), in our addiction-rehabilitation department – jointly operated with Kék Kereszt (Blue Cross Association) – we are able to provide enhanced support for education/training. We anticipate that the capacity of our homeless psychiatric patients for independence can be developed to a point where their vulnerability and defenselessness is decreased and with limited help and oversight their self-sustaining prospect can be increased.
The institution has its own social worker to help with the administration of the patients and assist in maintaining their relationship with family and society.
Serious improvement can be expected – even after as little as two years of conscientious therapy – given the termination of substance abuse.
Since the prolonged or permanent accommodation of psychiatric patients is not yet available (even after 7 years of waiting),the only chance for many of these people is this sort of special care. The ward is continuously filled. Three meals a day are provided. The patients’ health condition and their treatment are established on arrival. Their medical observation and care is uninterrupted. They take part in handicraft, remedial and group activities weekly and a physiotherapist assists in their therapy. We also organize cultural programs and excursions with therapeutic purposes.